Real Estate Investing Basics

The Simplest Way to Successfully Scale Your Business

Expertise: Personal Development, Business Management, Real Estate Investing Basics, Landlording & Rental Properties, Personal Finance, Flipping Houses
125 Articles Written
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Businesses run the very best and most successfully when the goal and the path to get to it are both ultra clear. As such, owners, operators, and managers should make it ridiculously transparent to everyone how they specifically impact that goal.

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It's so easy to get wrapped up in the big picture without really identifying what the end game looks like. Real estate investors, for instance, may need to ask themselves, "What does this business look like when it's running at scale?"

I can’t overstate how much more clarity and simplicity we’ve had in our business just by going through specific processes and nailing down how they run from beginning to end. The team understands, too, because we’ve discussed the process together, what’s expected, and how it is supposed to run.

The opposite of a clear and simple system is not having a process and having to recreate the process—often with varying degrees of outcomes and success—each time a task is completed.

Ask my wife and ask my team, I’m TERRIBLE with details. And in the beginning, going through writing out an individual process was about as exciting to me as slamming my hand in a door. But seriously, it didn’t take long to realize how incredibly powerful it is for our entire team to be on the same page, with everyone aware of how something should run and who is ultimately responsible for its success.

That said, let’s dive into scaling with clarity and simplicity as the focus.

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Related: 9 Tech Tools Transforming the Way Real Estate Investors Scale Their Portfolios

How to Scale While Remaining Profitable

One of the things I’ve had to learn the hard way is scaling with the balance of both people, processes, and profitability. I’ve found myself (more times than I want to admit) trying to hire for a job in our business before having a really clear idea about the responsibilities that person will be taking on. This is setting up someone for failure. And it’s setting up yourself and your business for failure, too.

It’s also important to understand the metrics for the position. What numbers should that person aim for? How does their work affect the business? Do they produce revenue or are they administrative support? What am I even hiring for?

Ask this question: what five to 10 tasks could I remove in order to relieve 80% of the stress I’m experiencing? Now you know where to focus your attention in hiring.

Make sure to think about profit—the lifeline of your business. It’s important not to add additional costs to your overhead without also seeing the bottom line revenue increasing, as well.

This can be very tricky to balance. Scale equally with profit, processes, and people. It’s important to watch this cycle and be very aware of it for the long-term growth and stability of your business.

Set Up Systems That Run Without You

Part of understanding processes is starting at the beginning with the end in mind—for everything. If there is a task that you repeatedly do, write that process down from beginning to end.

Even if you are the only person in your business… write it down!

As you identify each task, note them as simply and succinctly as possible. Eventually you will have clear processes for everything you do in your business.

If you decide to hire an administrator, you can teach them how to pay the bills, communicate with the title company, what to look for in a contract, etc. It'll be quick and easy since you've created the systems around those tasks already.

Thinking of hiring an acquisitions person to help buy more properties for you? Now you can simply and effortlessly explain:

  • The type of properties you buy
  • Where you buy them
  • What you look for
  • The square footage, beds, baths, and so on

The end game is you have a systematic way to do everything in your business. You also have a clear way to bring in a new employee for each position on your team, including an on-boarding process, job-specific tasks, and training. That way you know every single person on your team is on the same page, has gone through the same training, and is able to do the job you are asking them to do.

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Related: 3 Keys to Sustainably Scaling Your Real Estate Portfolio

Simplify Everything

Once the processes are written out, RUN THEM!

Give them time to unfold, but make sure they are working. Then go back and tear them apart to optimize all the components.

Keep it simple. Make sure the process makes as much sense today as it did the day it was created. Don’t be afraid to change—changes might make the process even more simple and clear.

I’m not a big fan of McDonald’s. I actually despise their “food.” But I love the efficiency and simplicity with which they run their business. They have optimized their processes so that their business will run with anyone in any position.

We want that level of simplicity—to hire and train great people who will do their jobs well. All businesses should strive for the same.

Focus Relentlessly

It’s easy to be distracted from a high-level view of where the company is going or what your specific goals are as an individual investor. There will always be the day-to-day fires to put out and problems to solve. But hold yourself accountable for maintaining a level of focus—a 30,000-foot view.

For me, I start each new week reflecting on the prior week, as well as on the current and previous quarters of business. Then, looking at results from those weeks and quarters, I question whether we are on track to complete the rest of the year’s goals successfully. If we aren’t, where do we need to adjust?

It’s SO easy to get off task, to find something else that is exciting to work on. It’s so much harder to dig in and see where your numbers were off, or where you didn’t do a very good job, and to work on it.

Over and over when we have started to see less than desirable results in our business, we found we had gone off on a tangent as opposed to staying focused on the one or two things we needed to solve.

Final Thoughts

There is not a perfect solution to scaling and growing your business. The most honest thing I can tell you is it’s hard.

But the best thing you can do is be relentless in laying out your end goal. Then figure out what three or four other things would make a big impact and get you there.

Hire carefully and take your time finding the right people. Make anything you are doing over and over in your business simple and repeatable.

Lay out your processes. Stay focused with your effort and time. Track your numbers and know them well. Then sit back and watch as your business scales and grows successfully.

Do you have any other tips on scaling? Where are you at in the growth process? What are you doing to get to the next level?

Tell me in the comment section. 

 

 

Nathan Brooks is the co-founder and CEO of Bridge Turnkey Investments, a Kansas City-based company renovating and selling more than 100 turnkey prop...
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    Charles Maples from Olathe, Kansas
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Nathan, I agree with the importance of having good processes in place. My background is one from a 50 person organization in maintenance/repairs where processes were key to keeping parts moving to our customers. It was sometimes hard to get buy-in from new, skilled employees to use the processes until they personally saw the value, usually when something went wrong because a step was bypassed to save time or get something done “quick”. The repeatable processes were key to growing and sustaining operations. We would lose experienced employees typically to retirement, and the documented processes helped bring new hires up to speed much quicker than over the shoulder OJT. But you must keep refining them as new experience, data points, or changes in your business happen. Sometimes the hardest part is getting started identifying some aspect of the job that really is a process and then documenting it well.
    Nathan Brooks Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, KS
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Thanks, and couldn’t agree more Charles! Keep refining. Keep digging into everything. And keep after getting better. Document them. Run them. And repeat.
    Jeremy Fiest from Olathe, Kansas
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Well stated, Nathan! I’m in the beginnings of my investment business and I intend to use your advice here as I continue to move forward and scale up! Thank you for the post!
    Nathan Brooks Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, KS
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Thanks Jeremy! Just keep growing, learning, and keeping after it. Good luck and get after it!
    Madelaine Au from Eugene, OR
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Great article! I’m looking forward to when I will eventually be at this point in my business process. I read a book once that discussed the importance of keeping tasks and processes simple enough that anyone can duplicate them. I’m a big fan of the concept! Simple is best.